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  1. #121
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    back during Clinton's first presidential debates, people counted the number of blinks on each candidate. Nothing's more asinine than a news station trying to be neutral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tobbA View Post
    Isn't it kind of a weird way to judge a debate though... who looked the most at his opponent? Big deal. It's what they say and think that matters. If it was about intimidating each other they might as well have a fist fight.
    That would be awesome. I would hope they both lose, then afterwards they would both claim victory.

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  3. #123
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    Wow.
    This thread has ranged all over the spectrum on politics, from blinks to the bailout.

    It is a sad fact that a person's likability is often more important than their base understanding of sound economic realities and theories. While just about every issue has roots decades ago, the current economic meltdown has the trunk thrusting out of the ground in the mid-90's when a number of local private interests (like ACORN) wanted to expand the Community Reinvestment Act (a late 70's government program that helped a lot of folks get homes and seemed pretty stable). The Congress passed laws that made loan generation more efficient and allowed for different products to enter the market (ones not dependent upon sound backing for higher-risk loans). So, with the smell of money in the water, people who saw an opportunity to make a profit did so. Others saw the green staining the sea and a feeding frenzy ensued. Once the fat was sucked from the bones and the carcass began to sink, most of the people discovered they couldn't even swim.

    Economics drive a multitude of behaviors. One can study it without getting into numbers and icky stuff like that. Ignoring economics is like signing a contract to stay ignorant and let others run you around like a wheelbarrow.

    Oh, and this isn't a democracy. It was never meant to be. A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. There is no right to vote in federal elections. For my money, I would rather have everyone interested in politics, but only have those with more than the current average understanding actually vote.


    This is pretty funny. Or scary.

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  5. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobbA View Post
    Isn't it kind of a weird way to judge a debate though... who looked the most at his opponent? Big deal. It's what they say and think that matters. If it was about intimidating each other they might as well have a fist fight.
    It matters because our president is the person that represents us when he meets other foreign leaders. A smile and a handshake may be superficial to us, but can hold more importance to them.
    Policies aside, it's good to have someone personable, and at the very least look at our friends and adversaries in the eye. Personality matters in terms of global perception.

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  7. #125
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    "Oh, and this isn't a democracy. It was never meant to be."

    It should be, is what I'm saying.

    "A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner."

    Only a poorly concieved one. And, as in nature, sheep outnumber wolves.

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  8. #126
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    Wouldn't the best way to judge a debate would be that when both candidates present his/her viewpoint you realize the other may sway you because they clarified a position that you were unsure of?

    If people came in rooting for his/her man, and came out still rooting regardless if the opponent had some viewpoints to consider then both candidates have failed. The status quo continues...

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    I think the dumbest thing was asking if either of them would vote for the bail-out package when it had not yet been made available to them to read. This is dumb-assed.

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

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  11. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    "Oh, and this isn't a democracy. It was never meant to be."

    It should be, is what I'm saying.

    "A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner."

    Only a poorly concieved one. And, as in nature, sheep outnumber wolves.
    How are the minorities concerns and choices to be addressed in a democracy when it's already hard enough in what's left of our republic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    "Oh, and this isn't a democracy. It was never meant to be."

    It should be, is what I'm saying.

    "A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner."

    Only a poorly concieved one. And, as in nature, sheep outnumber wolves.
    Without the structure of law, the muscle and sinew of the peoples' collective will simply quivers and flops about. Rule of the majority will always be more fickle than rule of law. Without the stability created by a solid set of laws, there can be no long-term confidence that what we're doing today will translate into tomorrow. A democracy is rule by the majority.

    "When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."
    - Benjamin Franklin

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  14. #130
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    Look, I see what you're saying. Let's just leave it at that I have a broad definition of democracy, and you like to get very specific.

    I think most people who hear the word democracy assume rule of law is included, as well as protection of minorities, and the simplist way to do so is... allow a simple majority to win in the decision to protect a right, and force a 2/3's majority in the decision to take away a right, such as polygamy.

    And I'm not against representative democracy, although I like direct democracy in certain cases.

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  16. #131
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    TA... I guess you want prayer in school, the scientific method replaced by "that which feels good is true," Dane Cook for president, Thomas Kinkaide as Art Czar, The White House Reality show sponsored by Spam, Cheetos, and Slim Jim, Fort Knox open house day --- all the gold bars you can take in one shopping cart... small towns turned into dumps for larger ones... minorities with no rights at all... no taxes at all, and thus no money to even plow the roads or power the street lights.

    Representation is an absolute necessity. Because the learned opinion of one sensible specialist trumps the earnest guesses of a million amateurs.

    EDIT: I see you've gotten more specific since I wrote this. Well, here it is anyhow.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    Look, I see what you're saying. Let's just leave it at that I have a broad definition of democracy, and you like to get very specific.

    I think most people who hear the word democracy assume rule of law is included, as well as protection of minorities,...
    See, that's one of the problems. There have been a multitude of instances where a poll was taken and the majority of those polled wanted things a certain way. When the law said differently, there was an enormous outrage that the elected officials were going against the will of the people. So many people think that we live in a democracy (including many in the media, who should know better), that people get upset when there is an issue that is en fuego (like anything that makes the market go nuts) and their desire isn't being fulfilled. Elected officials can wave too much in the political wind as it is. With the hot press of the people urging activity (which is not the same as effectiveness), there is a lot of unnecessary energy expended away from actually addressing challenges.

    And by operating under different definitions, we sow confusion (and delay). Let's try to stick with the defined definitions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    TA... I guess you want prayer in school, the scientific method replaced by "that which feels good is true," Dane Cook for president, Thomas Kinkaide as Art Czar, The White House Reality show sponsored by Spam, Cheetos, and Slim Jim, Fort Knox open house day --- all the gold bars you can take in one shopping cart... small towns turned into dumps for larger ones... minorities with no rights at all... no taxes at all, and thus no money to even plow the roads or power the street lights.

    Representation is an absolute necessity. Because the learned opinion of one sensible specialist trumps the earnest guesses of a million amateurs.

    EDIT: I see you've gotten more specific since I wrote this. Well, here it is anyhow.
    kev summons fat picard
    Name:  fat_picard.jpg
Views: 196
Size:  115.1 KB

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  20. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    Look, I see what you're saying. Let's just leave it at that I have a broad definition of democracy, and you like to get very specific.

    I think most people who hear the word democracy assume rule of law is included, as well as protection of minorities...
    Americans tend to think democracy and liberal democracy are synonyms, when they really aren't at all. Open societies will tend to be democracies, but democracy can also be used as a tool in the service of totalitarianism.
    Democracy is a means to and end, not an end in and of itself.


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  22. #135
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    A pure democracy's main fault is it's inability to correct mistakes. The right of women to vote is an example. The majority votes to either allow or dis-allow it--but the only voters are men. Whoop-de-doo! And let's not even mention whether we keep or abolish slavery...

    Adhering to a strict one-man-one-vote democracy in the current US, it wouldn't be very far off the mark to assume we'd still have slavery, the death penalty for homosexuals, the outlawing of immigrants that are not Protestant-Christian, and the total segregation of religions and races to the point of forced ghettoization. The majority mentality that would have or still can allow all of these existed in MY lifetime, and still does if the "public" is guided in the direction of their existing fears by a charismatic leader.

    Democracy (and pseudo-democratic systems) is prone to convenient loop-holes. In those countries in Europe that had laws that allowed women to own or inherent property against the patriarchal majority during and after the dark ages, the loophole was the "unofficial" fact that there was a state church, which allowed incredible measures to be legally used against those deemed witches, for example. A rather efficient way to make sure third-cousin Tom inherited the castle rather than daughter or wife Sally did.

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  24. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    Look, I see what you're saying. Let's just leave it at that I have a broad definition of democracy, and you like to get very specific.

    I think most people who hear the word democracy assume rule of law is included, as well as protection of minorities, and the simplist way to do so is... allow a simple majority to win in the decision to protect a right, and force a 2/3's majority in the decision to take away a right, such as polygamy.

    And I'm not against representative democracy, although I like direct democracy in certain cases.
    Things like this result in more federal control, and centralization of our govt. It's a growing trend, danger to liberties, and threat to security as it takes away powers of the states and their representatives, or their accountability for decisions. We have a large enough problem with accountability as it is. Both sides of the political spectrum get away with murder, in some cases literally.

    There are still some issues regarding personal freedoms and rights that aren't addressed, ones that if a 'direct democracy' were in would be quickly trumped; This particularly relates to things like gay marriage and abortion. I think given the country's overwhelmingly religious direction, it's easy to say these things would have little change. Even as the range in beliefs grow, they're still dominated by not so different religions that equate to the same authoritarianism.

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    I invite everyone who wants to actually get down and dirty political to start posting here: http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/...frm/f/28609695

    Its not perfect (no forum is), but its one of the best political forums I've been to. Its no secret on the forum that it has a liberal/libertarian bent, but there are quite a few intelligent conservatives as well.

    If you do start posting, I would suggest reading the rules.

    Also, I'm not posting here to advertise; I really am curious as to see how some of you would fair... Kev in particular.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Because the learned opinion of one sensible specialist trumps the earnest guesses of a million amateurs.
    Wut are you, some kind of eleeeeeeeeeeetist or sumthin'?


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    Quote Originally Posted by James Kei View Post
    And yes, this is a real thread topic. More substantial than most of the garbage that gets posted in the lounge. Until it gets watered down by Peter, of course.
    It would be nice if the younger members of CA would get more involved in politics.
    You mean until a dissenting opinion pops up? Oh, thanks a lot. Have you guys ever thought that maybe you are just as bad, but coming from the other direction so you can all feel nice and cuddly in your group opinions while hammering the nail that sticks out?

    Thanks a lot, assholes.

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  31. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Coene View Post
    Have you guys ever thought that maybe you are just as bad, but coming from the other direction so you can all feel nice and cuddly in your group opinions while hammering the nail that sticks out?
    Speaking of nails, as usual, the Onion nails it:
    BOSTON—According to an eye-opening report released Tuesday, 60 million people whom you would never talk to, would never be in a position to talk to, and wouldn't even be able to talk to if you tried will be voting for the other candidate in this year's presidential election, and there is nothing you can do about it.

    The 110-page document reveals that these strangers share a fundamental vision of our nation's future, a vision that shockingly runs completely counter to your own and is furthermore embodied by the candidate whom you could not in a million years fathom being the leader of the free world. Even more frightening, the report says, is that their votes count just as much as yours.

    continued...



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  33. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Americans tend to think democracy and liberal democracy are synonyms, when they really aren't at all. Open societies will tend to be democracies, but democracy can also be used as a tool in the service of totalitarianism.
    Democracy is a means to and end, not an end in and of itself.
    Sorry to quote myself, but guess who doesn't seem to grasp this distinction?
    Surprise surprise.


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  35. #142
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    man, it looks like I put my foot in my mouth.... let's see what can I say...

    "TA... I guess you want prayer in school, the scientific method replaced by "that which feels good is true," Dane Cook for president, Thomas Kinkaide as Art Czar, The White House Reality show sponsored by Spam, Cheetos, and Slim Jim, Fort Knox open house day --- all the gold bars you can take in one shopping cart... small towns turned into dumps for larger ones... minorities with no rights at all... no taxes at all, and thus no money to even plow the roads or power the street lights."

    sigh...

    let's see. Okay, so I figure I clarified a bit and you all realize that and are hopefully a bit relieved. I believe there are two general categories of issues, Ones based on expertise and ones based on morals. Then, there are those that mix the two like stem cell research, cloning, gene manipulation and preference, and in some cases regenerative medicine.

    Economics, taxes, education, foreign policy, etc all have moral imperatives but are predominantly complex and require a great deal of research. Any country should hire many people to help manage these things. Capital punishment and abortion, no matter how much research goes into their justification or lack thereof, remain in the realm of moral dilemma.

    While a population as ignorant as the US may very well get along uncaring while "experts" work on the former issues, I feel they should be able to directly choose the moral ones (in so far as protecting rights, as I mentioned above). And, in the event of a war where we're not under attack, I feel the people should get to vote about that too. They should set these things up so that it's quick, and there should be some sensible way to limit how often these things come to a vote, etc. I don't know maybe just having a vote would welcome a lot of violence and hostilities. Who knows. And, in general, I think the US already reflects the will of the people on these moral issues (minus the Iraq war).

    People won't always choose as I like, but at least it would be what the vast majority want. There may very well be prayer in public schools (decisions like this could be up to specific districts instead of a national level, or heck at a national level if everyone wanted). But it'd have to be what at least 67% of people wanted - you could even raise the requirement. But the main thing that makes me cringe is when we have a right such as no capital punishment, or no prayer in school, but over 90% of the people want it (specific districts, etc.). It just feels like artificial progress that's going to fuel all sorts of resentment. I'd be much happier if progress came from a majority of voters actually seeing the light. I must be an idealist.

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    "Remarkably, the one thing you do have in common with these 60 million other people is that you both know several assholes who are actually planning to vote for a third-party candidate, if you can believe that shit."

    Yay! I'm still an asshole!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Speaking of nails, as usual, the Onion nails it:
    Yeah, that would be about right except for the fact that for me, BOTH candidates are the other guy, and I do talk to the people voting for them on a regular basis, its not like I have a choice.

    But honestly, what I have a problem with is not who anyone chooses to vote for, that's their business. What bothers me is that people would ridicule someone for their political beliefs (or any other beliefs) especially when someone decides to specifically point the finger.

    If any of you were in the same position you'd probably act the same way.

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    I'm so happy for you, Ghost'. I personally have only reached the level of Jerkhood...

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  40. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Wut are you, some kind of eleeeeeeeeeeetist or sumthin'?
    <sheepishly raises hand to acknowledge guilt>

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    The anatomy isn't wrong. That's just my style.
    The anatomy isn't wrong. That's just my style.

    <now raise yours>

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  42. #147
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    GhostValkyrie is offline The deep satisfaction of radical ends.. Level 5 Gladiator: Myrmillo
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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    While a population as ignorant as the US may very well get along uncaring while "experts" work on the former issues, I feel they should be able to directly choose the moral ones (in so far as protecting rights, as I mentioned above). And, in the event of a war where we're not under attack, I feel the people should get to vote about that too. They should set these things up so that it's quick, and there should be some sensible way to limit how often these things come to a vote, etc. I don't know maybe just having a vote would welcome a lot of violence and hostilities. Who knows. And, in general, I think the US already reflects the will of the people on these moral issues (minus the Iraq war).
    Yeah, let's just 'minus' the ugly stuff like Iraq. Maybe we should omit the polling for Iran and Syria, or Russia. Seriously. There's a difference between great change and 'great change'. It's bad enough already we have a couple of war-mongering clowns in the house deciding the fate of 1,000's-1,000,000's. Imagine if you give every idiot American who's never been shot at, never seen someone die, or never understood the depth of hatred, dedication, sacrifice, servitude, love, strength, war, life or death and are still willing to send others to understand for them. The current regime already has many advisers who have resigned because no one will listen.

    Try and think how bad it would be if every football watching, potato-chip bagged American decided "hey, let's send our men and woman on over yonder ta go get them Ayyy-rabs!" again...

    It's hard enough enduring comments from morons who think they've made sacrifices and understand, when they've contributed nothing and don't understand the issues. But for an educated man such as yourself being so willing to just hand over the keys to these barbarians. C'mon.

    The job of the military is to protect the citizens of their nation, not the prospects or interests in foreign countries. Give them the keys and they'll drive this country right off the cliff. We're almost there, it wouldn't be very hard.

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  45. #149
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    GhostValkyrie is offline The deep satisfaction of radical ends.. Level 5 Gladiator: Myrmillo
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    GV, I'm not sure if you're taking into consideration just how integrated our military is in global trade, not just in terms of keeping world stability by checking disruptive powers, but also by keeping trade routes free and clear.... which has a direct bearing on our economy at home. Which is something that most citizens here would like protected.
    I've been in the military 4.5 years, kev. I'm not just one of these dummy teens you're always chastising.

    If Americans are so damn concerned about their fucking money and oil maybe they should strap on the kevlar and go fight for it themselves. This is ridiculous how 'far we've come'.

    EDIT: It always seems like the people who are the most "patriotic" are the last ones to really take any kind of differential action.
    Seriously. The first ones to say it's necessary to go to war are usually the first to point and tell someone else to go fight. Yeah. I signed a contract, and I still did my job even when some of those very things threw my personal perspective out of balance and betrayed my so called morals. That doesn't mean things like this have to continue, it also doesn't mean if the necessary changes are made that they'll never happen again.

    I'm positive if we had realignment of our goals to be protecting our homeland against foreign threats, stationing troops at our borders and protecting our water ways; We wouldn't have to worry about another 9/11 as much. We wouldn't need the patriot acts, domestic wire-tappings, etc. We also wouldn't be wasting so much damn money. This isn't something irregular for people in the military to feel this way. At least not over here, that is. The realignment wouldn't stop there, and shouldn't, but it would be a hell of a start.

    Last edited by GhostValkyrie; September 29th, 2008 at 02:51 PM.
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  47. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Kei View Post
    It matters because our president is the person that represents us when he meets other foreign leaders. A smile and a handshake may be superficial to us, but can hold more importance to them.
    Policies aside, it's good to have someone personable, and at the very least look at our friends and adversaries in the eye. Personality matters in terms of global perception.
    So it all boils down to who has the best hand shake then? World peace is coming. God bless America! (I mean.. have you seen that dude they have as president shake hands?)

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